We all like to assume we’re good at something like or close to or approximating that strange thing that makes the world go ’round – love.
There are a few of us, in sad and lonely moments, who would decry this, and make ourselves unlovable thereby in a self-fulfilling prophecy of self-loathing.
You see, those who talk incessantly about love often do not know what love is.
And for the rest this ignorance is too painful to contemplate.
And when someone wants to quiz or test you about your love – it’s quality or degree or sincerity – that’s the cue to abandon all hope. The relationship (if there ever was one) is over – at least in terms of love.
All this is to say that love is one thing, and talking about love is another altogether. I do not pretend to comprehend either.
Nietzsche said “Love, too, has to be learned”
and we started with our first by teaching her
to say, ‘Wow’ – kissing lips opening as a fish
with a slow, drawn-out ow-ow-ow between
the magical w’s; it’s a word that goes around
itself, a palindrome to embarrass all others
and she loved – absolutely loved – the joyful
surprise on adult faces as she so carefully
pronounced, over-and-over again, her word
of wonder until she broke into a smile and the
Wow’s had to stop because upturned corners
of the mouth break into the world of wows
as if competing for delight, and it took her
learned discipline to recapture the lips which
would say her wonderful word, and we’re
awed, every day, she knows what it means.
Love and Anything
It’s an affront to the totality
of love to place a conjunction with it;
demeaning all other reality,
by simply linking ‘and’ in transit.
Love refuses rivals,
with passive opposition it denies
challengers their titles;
a simple tie sacrifices the prize.
Adding anything in place
by union with the fame of one word,
counting all else as base,
with a simply conjunction’s embrace.
Try it; put up for debate,
‘Love and’ anything will degrade;
‘and’ sex, food, marriage, even hate,
this fall is impossible to evade.
To say ‘and life’ is sad,
as if it’s worthy without the former;
to claim ‘and war’ is had
only by ignoring hate in the warrior.
For love changes all,
concurring sum with a simple ‘and’
casting this pall
over juxtaposed allegiances banned.
The lesson is clear,
that love suffers no fool gladly,
intolerant as severe
treating all pretenders badly.